For you first time in Athens, the best choice is to book in a hotel close to the center, so as to be able to go sightseeing on foot, saving time and money. You can choose from a wide range of budget, medium-priced or luxury hotels in Plaka, Syntagma or Acropolis. These are the most central districts, close to the main attractions and museums and pleasant surroundings.
You can start your day with a traditional Greek breakfast at the Acropolis Museum Restaurant, with goodies from all over the country and then browse through the museum, which is of exceptional interest. The Acropolis Museum was recently ranked third place on a list of the 50 best museums in the world, so don’t miss it! If you have time, it's worth your while to visit the real thing, namely the Acropolis itself, rated second most beautiful monument in the world by none other than CNN.
View of the Acropolis from below — Photo courtesy of Nelly Paraskevopoulou
This involves some uphill walking, so if you visit in summer, make sure to take a bottle of water with you and do wear a hat. If you would rather avoid such exertion, you can always admire the Acropolis from all angles and take photos.
After visiting these two main landmarks in Athens, the choices are many. You can continue exploring the area and visit the Lalaounis Jewelry Museum and discover the interesting shops on side streets around the Acropolis. Or continue walking beyond the Acropolis and visit Thission, with the temple of Hephaestus.
Temple of Hephaestus in Thission — Photo courtesy of Nelly Paraskevopoulou
Continuing your walk, you reach Monastiraki, famous for the flea market with antiques, second-hand shops, used books and souvenirs. Another option would be to walk through Plaka, starting opposite the Acropolis Museum and discover the magical atmosphere of this oldest district in Athens, where traditional taverns, modern cafeterias and remains of ancient walls co-exist in perfect harmony.
At the edge of Plaka, which coincides with Monastiraki, you can visit the Ancient Agora. Another favorite is visiting the Temple of Olympian Zeus, just across the main avenue close to the Acropolis Museum, and then cross over to the Zappion and the National Garden.
Walking up Irodou Attikou street, parallel to the National Garden, you reach Kolonaki with the most elegant and high-end cafes and shops. In this district you can visit two important museums, the Benaki Museum and the Museum of Cycladic Art and a little further on, the Byzantine Museum.
Athens is all about antiquities and museums, which keep the important history alive and offer visitors the occasion to really get the feeling of this ancient city.